Amid my mostly futile efforts to try combining multiple fairly substantial tasks - like writing, exercising, and house-work - within individual days, I ran across a snarky astrology page that was a revelation. Libra, my sign, is described as "Indecisive. Tries to balance everything".

Trying to balance everything might be a good description of my problem here. Or rather, trying to balance everything in a single day. It struck me - particularly as I close in on the end of the For Fun Fantasy Novel, finally - that the analysis at the end of the day really should be qualitative rather than quantitative. I don't mean that stuff doesn't get done, but I need a better metric than 24 hour cycles. I may get 5000 words a week done whether or not I write every day, but if I spend a day devoted to writing, rather than a half-hour here and there because I'm trying to do other things too, and those 5000 words are better when I can devote more time in one sitting to them, then what sense does it make to do everything in pieces?

Likewise, for work on the house. One of my upcoming projects is to rip up a small section of carpet and put down tile, for instance. It makes less sense to do this in several chunks than doing it over one or two days, and like those 5000 words, the quality of the job would probably be better. I can concentrate on tile without thinking "But I haven't written today...", or writing without thinking "There's still a lot of bare floor..."

So I just have to somehow un-corkscrew myself from Libra-ness. I might have had an easier time learning to balance, but we'll see. Maybe it's just a matter of getting out of the habit of going to bed thinking "What have I done today?" and replacing it with "What have I done this week?"

The exception to this, though, is exercise. Some things I can put off, but I put off exercise at my peril. Three times a week would be enough, or has been in the past, as long as it's consistent. This is something I need to keep up regardless of what else is going on the rest of the day, for my own long term (much, much longer than a week) sake.

Another bit of time unfortunately just opened up for my next few weeks, too: Amazon has cancelled its Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest this year. I've been a judge for that contest since its inception in 2008, and figured that being annual and being Amazon, I could solidly expect to do it again this year too. Nope. I heard from my Publishers Weekly editor, [personal profile] rosefox, yesterday that it was being scrubbed, with the official notice arriving today. Ah well. I thought it was a great thing and I hate to see it disappear. Some of the manuscripts I read were real stinkers - one year all of them were - but there were others I thought absolutely brilliant, and I'll miss those. RIP, ABNA.

* * *

Anyway, as I said above, I'm closing in on the end of No Word in Death's Favor. I might even wrap it up in another two chapters and perhaps a small epilogue. Then I'll connect the dots from chapter to chapter so it flows better, and then eventually decide whether or not I think it's any good.

I went into it not thinking about publishing as the major goal but experimenting with things I hadn't tried before, or not tried much. Publishing or not will enter my mind more thoroughly once it's finished. I'll try not to let the fact that I spent ten months on it influence my decision; aside from the fact that much of that time was spent not writing while I worked on New House, the extra time was also built in from the start because of all the experimenting (and, yeah, playing around in the name of experimenting).

Then again, I might really like it. We'll see.

And after that...maybe a Secret Project. I call it that because it's probably something I'm not supposed to be writing. But offhand I can't recall any time such a prohibition stopped me.


I managed some writing today, the second batch this week, while doing two things: Gearing up for the release of Lest Camelot Fall TOMORROW (the all caps is the way I'm thinking of it, not trying to get attention), and being well underway in the process of trying to buy a house. Writing has felt like a luxury with everything else going on, though it's also more necessary than ever just to keep my head on straight.

Right now there are multiple major uncertainties in my life. Even after jumping into the house-buying process I still have my doubts about whether or not it's the best idea, though the other options (including trying to stay where I am) are likely to prove even more difficult. As it is it's still far from certain that I'll be able to buy, but at least unlike the last time I tried to buy--at the peak of the credit crunch and banks gathering into the Department of We Don't Want To Loan Money Right Now Unless Your Credit Score is 800 And You Can Put 20% Down--I haven't been cut off at the knees.

Whatever the outcome, though, I'm still packing. By "packing" I mainly mean packing books. I have enough books that I figured I'd better get a good head start, and at fifty boxes that average printer paper box size I'm still only a third of the way through the library. This accounts for a big chunk of otherwise-writing-time in itself. I would take my books to the metaphorical desert island before nearly any other material things, but a few thousand can certainly make moving a wee bit more of a logistical challenge.

And of course, as I've been shouting to the rooftops, Lest Camelot Fall is out TOMORROW. (Yep, still shouting in my head.) Fourteen months after I sold the book to Musa, so the steam's been building for a long time. I don't need to detail my thought process here; it's stereotypical enough that you can guess. Mainly it revolves around me being afraid that I won't sell more than about nine copies. And trying to think up ways to promote it that aren't among the myriad of methods that would make people want to grab my ears and twist.

(At least I caught that typo in the very first line of the book in time, so that's something! That woke me up at a few 4 a.m.s.)

But these things and writing fall into two opposite categories:

House and Book Release? Much if not mostly out of my control. I can do some things. Fill out and mail paperwork. Blog about the book or make a YouTube video. But quite a lot of both, maybe the lion's share, are out of my hands.

Writing, though? Now that I can control.

I think that's the key to the whole writing while distracted thing. Often I'm distracted because I feel like I have little or no control over something (or things, or multitudes) going on in my life. But while I can't control what happens to my writing after it's released to the world, the placing of myself before the Writing Computer in the Writing Room (usually with Vegas the Writing Assistant perched by my side) is totally do-able, and the location where I am master of my world (and the world of the poor suckers I'm writing about). Sending out submissions is also within my power--I hurled out three short stories back to back yesterday, just because I could.

There's my balance. I takes my power where I finds it. House-buying? Book release? Whatever. Sure, there my collaboration with the universe is my choice. But when I'm pounding away at the keyboard (and I do pound, having learned to type on an old Hermes manual typewriter, though it's also cathartic), I create the universes, Jack.




February 2015

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